California Employment Laws and Employee Rights

California Employment Laws and Employee Rights

July 7, 2021 Off By Glespynorson

California employment laws are some of the most complicated in the United States, and they go far beyond what other states have. This is because California has more stringent regulations than most states. All employees are entitled to certain rights under federal law as well as those granted by state law.

It’s crucial for employers and employees, both, to be aware of these laws to ensure they’re being followed. In case of any issues or unclarity, it’s a good idea to contact an experienced lawyer such as the Law Office of Omid Nosrati, which has over 20 years of combined experience in successfully handling claims and knowing what steps to take after problems in the workplace.

In this blog post, we will explore employee rights that all Californians should be aware of.

Employment Discrimination 


In California, employers cannot discriminate in the hiring, treatment, or discharge of employees.

Race Discrimination

This involves race discrimination which is any distinction, exclusion, or preference based on race or color. It applies to all aspects of the employment relationship, including hiring, promotion, and discharge decisions. Race discrimination occurs any time an employer treats a person differently because of their actual or perceived race regarding recruitment, job application procedures, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment.

One of the most common types of race discrimination is refusing to hire an applicant because they belong to a racial minority group that has been excluded from employment in certain occupations or industries, such as construction trades and truck driving. Persons belonging to any ethnic group may be subject to discrimination if they have never before been employed in the occupation or industry in question.

Sex Discrimination

It also includes sex discrimination which is any case in which an employer treats a woman differently from a man even though both individuals are equally qualified. Moreover, forming firing or hiring decisions based on sexual orientations or transgenders is included discrimination of sex.

Other types of Discrimination

Age discrimination occurs when an employee is let go if they are 40 years or above, and younger ones are hired. Religious discrimination, among other types, is also prohibited by the law and considered illegal in the state.

Furthermore, California law brands it illegal to base any employee-related decision on disabilities, but they also require the employer to provide the appropriate resources, including but not limited to wheelchair access, devices that make work easier and accessible, flexible work routine, and so on.

Wage Violations 

It’s important to know the difference between an independent contractor and an employee. An employee works full-time and draws a salary at the end of each month, while an independent contractor has a limited amount of time to complete a task. Meal plans or overtime laws don’t bind the latter.

Every employee who works for at least five hours is permitted a 30-minute lunch break, and those who work for ten hours are obligated to be given another 30-minute meal break. The weekly wage is $11 per hour for companies with 25 or fewer employees and $12 for more than 25 employees.

An employer isn’t allowed to encourage their employees to put in off-the-clock hours. If the employee willingly works, they’re subject to overtime pay; time and a half, if the employee works more than eight hours a day or over forty hours a week.

Sexual Harassment 

The sexual harassment law prohibits any sexual advances or favors, whether verbal or physical, towards another employee. These can occur from the same gender or opposite; and are taken into account when the working atmosphere becomes hostile and unhealthy.

Teasing an employee or casual comments aren’t considered harassment unless they’re consistent and severe or can lead to discrimination, firing, or demotion.

Workplace Retaliation 

The employees are protected by state laws which prohibit the employer from harassing or punishing the employees if they’re involved with any complaint process.

These include but are not limited to reporting harassment, giving testimony in any government lawsuit against the employer, not following discriminatory orders, complaining about unsafe workplace conditions, protecting another employee from sexual advances, and so on.

Wrongful Termination 

Although an employee can be let go at any time in California, if the termination is based on discrimination or retaliation, they can claim wrongful termination. For example, an employee above the age of forty is fired, and another younger one is hired in their place can be a basis for wrongful termination.

Final Thoughts

California has some of the most comprehensive employment laws in the United States. It is essential to know the rights of employees in California.

You may be unaware that you have certain protections as an employee, but laws govern how employers must treat their workers and what they can do for them.